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Spread of value orientations among political and economic elites in Serbia.

Abstract: The paper analyses findings of two surveys of value orientations spread among political and economic elites in Serbia, carried out in 1989 and 2003/04. The analysis is focused on two pairs of mutually conflicting orientations: political liberalism vs. authoritarian collectivism, and market liberalism vs. redistributive statism. The spread of these orientations in the two periods is analyzed in the first part of the paper, and it is concluded that liberal values were more present among members of political and economic elites in 2004 than it was the case in 1989. However, the change is not unequivocal and in some cases is smaller than expected. In the second part of the paper, the spread of value orientations among the elites in 2004 is analyzed more thoroughly, using larger sets of data. The findings show that political and economic elites in Serbia have not adopted liberal values as clearly dominant framework of orientation, even after pluralist democracy and market economy based on private ownership have been largely implemented and have been made legitimate principles of social regulation. Values of both groups are widely inconsistent and composed of mixture of liberal and collectivistic patterns. The value inconsistency may be found in the sphere of political and of economic subsystems, and it is equally characteristic of political and of economic elite, in both subsystems.

Keywords: Serbia, Yugoslavia, social stratification, elites, social change, postsocialist transformation

1. Introduction

Surveys of economic and political elites have not been made very often in Serbia. The first one, organized in late 1960s', was based mostly on ad hoc methodology (represented by a combination of open-ended interviews and unsystematic analysis of some structural data--on social origin, for example) and was not endowed with any developed theoretical framework. The study was published in English only, and was quoted very seldom in the works of Serbian sociologists (cf. Barton, Denitch and Kadushin, 1973). Later on, data on elites were collected as a part of general stratification surveys, based on proportionate samples, with the necessary consequence that members of higher strata were only marginally represented in these samples. Also structural and value characteristics of elites' members were not studied in detail. These characteristics were instead only sporadically included in the analyses of general relations among social strata (of the system of distribution of social wealth, power, and reputation; or of studies of value orientations; cf. Popovic, 1977; Popovic, 1991).

The reasons for the lack of interests for elite studies in Serbia are relatively clear. We can find them primarily in the low level of development of empirical sociological research in the country. Namely, it cannot be argued that studies of the ruling class in socialist Yugoslavia represented "forbidden territory", for the simple reason that a small number of such researches that were conducted were completed without serious obstacles from the authorities. A survey on political and economic elites was organized by me on the territory of former Yugoslavia (SFRY) at the end of the 1980s, as a part of a larger stratification research. The survey was successfully completed without any obstruction, even if it was done at a huge sample for this kind of research, consisting of 400 respondents (elites' members) in each of the six republics and two provinces (cf. Lazic, 1994). Contrary to the obvious public interest (confirmed, for example, by numerous media articles about "new riches" and new members of political elite), extremely small number of sociological surveys of new elites have been conducted, and moreover, empirical data that were collected in my surveys (1993, 1997, and 2003/04) have been only occasionally used (cf. Lazic, 1994; Lazic, ed. 1995; Lazic, 2000; Lazic and Cvejic, 2006).

It is quite clear that marginal research interest in the elites' studies (in Serbia and also in other postsocialist countries, since the time of the huge comparative survey, done by Szelenyi--cf. Szelenyi and Szelenyi, 1995) contradicts general agreement among social scientists about the central role of elites in socialism, in the establishment and reproduction of the dominant system of social relations, and about the elites as the key actors in contemporary transformation of socialist order into capitalist system. In a previous paper I defined elites as the social groups that control the resources accumulated, resources that are necessary for the reproduction of the basic conditions upon which a given (or potential) way of production of social life rests (cf. Lazic, in Highly and Lengyel, 2000). The obvious outcome is that nomenklatura members in socialism controlled not only the political and economic subsystems, but also the sphere of social integration in which value system was reproduced1. On the other hand, the breakdown of socialist order was above all the result of the impossibility of dominant system of relations to continue reproducing. The manifestation of this impossibility was primarily the deep economic crisis that finally led to the massive rebellion of the population. In other words, the collapse was not the result of collective actions of a specific social

group (a class) that wanted to install a new form of social order: the new order (capitalist economic system and political democracy) was simply taken over from the West (Lazic, 1994). This has been the reason why the main actors of systemic change in Central and Eastern Europe have become newly formed elites. Among their members, it has been possible to identify in different proportions, in various countries, old nomenklatura officials; former middle class people: intellectuals--members of political opposition' groups; professionals--owners of cultural capital; small entrepreneurs--owners of economic capital, etc. (see research findings on social origin of new political and economic elites in ten postsocialist countries, in Szelenyi and Szelenyi, 1995; for Serbia, see Lazic and Cvejic, 2006).

As demonstrated earlier, nomenklatura members themselves had contradictory interests: to preserve socialist system of reproduction, in which they had privileged social positions; but also to introduce capitalist system, in order to secure intergeneration transfer of their dominant social status (this transfer was almost impossible in socialism--cf. Lazic, 1994). (2) Moreover, it became clear soon after the system changed, that social status of the middle class, whose members represented the most numerous participants in social movements that led to the removal of socialist system, was significantly improved in all postsocialist countries. It should be added, however, that in addition to structural preconditions of systemic change, general delegitimization of socialist order also played a very important role in it. It meant that strong intrusion of liberal-capitalist value orientations, adversary to the ruling normative and value system, preceded the breakdown of socialism. The carriers of these new value patterns were again not only the middle class members, but also members of the new (and even old) elites. According to the same logic, general social acceptance of the new value system, and primarily its spread among the elites' members, makes the precondition for stabilization of institutions by which newly formed social order reproduces itself. Namely, value system represents the basis of legitimacy of the ruling system of social relations, and in this way it supports patterns of behavior within established political and economic subsystems (cf. Inglehart, 1997).

2. Transformational elites and value change in Serbia

When speaking about postsocialist transformation in Serbia, we have to bear in mind that it has been significantly different from analogous processes in other European countries in both structural and value aspects. First of all, the fact that the transformation in Serbia was blocked for ten years (see more on the concept "blocked transformation", in Lazic, Lazic ed. 2000) had important consequences for the constitution of the new elites, as I already mentioned. Namely, individuals who did not belong to former nomenklatura could hardly access the political and economic elites in large number before the second half of 1990s' (Lazic and Cvejic, 2006). This also meant that majority of the new elites' members, who put the basis of the new social system, originated from groups that only recently promoted and (using monopolistic power) even coerced socialist value system. However, value system in Serbia itself (and for that matter, in the former Yugoslavia) was specific that it represented extremely inconsistent mixture of value patterns, characteristic for authoritarian socialist societies on one hand and for liberal market social relations on the other hand. Well known historical facts explain such inconsistency: Yugoslav socialism was, since 1950s', built as quasi-liberal system, very much opened toward Western influences in the economy and even more in the sphere of culture. Yet another fact is very important for the understanding of previous (and contemporary) dominant value orientations here: socialist order in Serbia was established inside a society that had started a process of modernization very late (not before the last third of the nineteenth century) and was, additionally, very slow in introducing market economy instead of self-subsistence peasant economy all the way until the WW II (cf. Calic, 2004).

Taking into consideration the socio-historical background, it is no wonder that surveys in Serbia, done during the 1970s' and 1980s', repeatedly found inconsistent mixture of value orientations among the population. Mingle of traditionalistic patriarchal values, elements of strong authoritarianism, and socialist collectivism and egalitarianism, blended with "self-governmental consciousness" (1) was empirically established. While it is clear that structural interconnection existed between traditionalism, authoritarianism, socialist collectivism and egalitarianism, fixed by the dominant form of social reproduction, patterns of "self-managerial consciousness" were in some basic dimensions (which represented elements of liberalism) undoubtedly confronted with the dominant value orientations.

It should be mentioned only that the process of postsocialist transformation in the country, instead of supporting formation of relatively consistent dominant value orientations, could only stimulate deepening of value confusion. Namely, earlier mixture of dominant command property structure inside the economic subsystem, externalized in the form of quasi-market "self-managerial" system, with legalized and legitimized small private property in agriculture and services (cf. Lazic, 1987), was followed by equally contradictory system with inverted deterministic order, during the 1990s. Systemic change put private ownership and market economy in the forefront, but simultaneously with this change, "preservation" of "social" and state ownership still represented legal (in the Constitution) and legitimate stronghold of the system (so that previously existing forms of ownership could successfully be transformed into private property of former nomenklatura members). This contradictory process can easily be explained, if we have in mind specific historical circumstances in Serbia. Namely, state redistribution became the key precondition for survival of the vast majority of population, because of the economic collapse of the country, which was the result of wars and international sanctions. "Transitional recession" came here only as the secondary factor of mass pauperization. (2) Because of this, widespread converted "self-managerial" ideological consciousness has appeared, characterized by value amalgam posted exactly in the opposite direction than before: in its center has been the orientation toward strong state economic regulation, related to collectivistic, authoritarian and traditionalistic values.

Similar processes were developing inside the political subsystem. Formal introduction and broad legitimization of competitive party pluralism was in reality confronted with continuity of political domination from a part of political elite, which directly emerged from socialist nomenklatura (organized into Socialist Party of Serbia/SPS). SPS, led by S. Milosevic, won several elections (getting at first absolute majority of votes, and later relative majority), successfully combining mass mobilization of population on the basis of nationalistic program, with control of media, and with occasional use of repressive state apparatus. (1) In this way, again, a mixture of democratic values (support for multiparty pluralism, e.g.) and an amalgam of socialist and traditionalist "organic" (ethnic) collectivism and authoritarianism were planted into social consciousness. Parliamentary elections in 2000 revealed the outcome of such contradictory mixture, developed simultaneously inside real social relations and social consciousness. Namely, regime of S. Milosevic was removed at the time by a combination of electoral will of the majority of population and of massive social movement, which additionally had to "assist" the electoral results by street demonstrations.

The "return" of post-socialist transformation in Serbia to a standardized path after 2000, has been too brief and decisively marked by continuing difficulties in solving the problem of state boundaries (Montenegro, Kosovo), so that characteristics of the new system of social relations could not be fully developed yet. That is why it is hard to expect for recent changes to serve as the basis for the establishment of relatively consistent dominant value system. Such an expectation is even less realistic, if we take into account the new hardships that have been generated during the process of economic transformation (primarily led by the principles of Washington consensus: privatization, restructuring, stabilization, etc.), including increase of unemployment, socioeconomic differentiation, reduction of the welfare system and of health insurance. In this way, together with the ascent of the new power elite in politics and in the economy, which in principle promotes liberal values, conditions have been reproduced for continuing support of lower strata for another part of the elite, that upholds "older" value orientations, such as ethnically based collectivism and authoritarianism. Of course, these older orientations have been adjusted to contemporary conditions, in which political pluralism and private property have been established as undisputable general frames of reference, while all these elements together have been reproducing social basis at which contradictory mixture in the value sphere has to reappear.

3. Methodological remarks

The following analysis rests on results of two surveys: the first one was conducted in 1989, at the time immediately preceding the breakdown of socialist system; the second one took place in winter 2003/2004, when the stabilization of systemic transformation in Serbia finally was under way. In both cases surveys were done in the framework of a larger research of stratification and value characteristics of the population in the country, at additional samples of economic and political elites. The general sample in 1989 consisted of 3660 respondents, to which samples of 231 and 219 respondents, belonging to the economic and political elites respectively, were added. The sample of the second survey consisted of 2997 respondents, with additional 205 and 206 respondents belonging to the economic and political elites respectively.1 The political elites consisted of members of the Republican Government and a small number of top executives at local level (Government of Autonomous Province of Vojvodina and big cities); members of the Republican Parliament; and top leaders of political parties elected to the Parliament (in 1989 only the Communist Party existed). The sample of the economic elite was chosen among top managers of big public firms (in 1989 and in 2003/04), and among owners and top managers of big and medium private firms (in 2003/04).

The data analysis focuses on two pairs of mutually opposing value orientations: political liberalism vs. authoritarian collectivism; and market liberalism vs. redistributive statism (see more on these concepts in Lazic and Cvejic, 2007; Lazic and Cvejic, 2004). Data from the new survey is compared with the older data, while the findings about the elites' value orientations will be compared with findings about value orientations of the members of the basic classes in Serbia that were analyzed in earlier papers (see Lazic and Cvejic, 2007). The decision to analyze two mentioned pairs of value orientations is made on the basis of our earlier findings: firstly, factor analysis of large number of statements (by which value orientations were processed) suggested that they made different value systems; and secondly, social classes--including elites, which in our earlier research were treated as a unique group: the ruling class--significantly differed according to their value orientations (Lazic and Cvejic, 2007). However, the differentiation of the ruling class in two strata--economic and political elites--makes the use of more developed statistical methods impossible. Namely, relatively homogenous value orientations could not be found among members of any of the strata and, additionally, there were no systematic value differences between these strata. Individual statements could not be grouped into scales because of these reasons, so that I was only able to analyze intra- and inter-stratal differences using individual statements.

It is clear that introductory methodological remarks already suggest one of the basic findings of our research: political and economic elites in Serbia did not form consistent value systems neither at the beginning of post-socialist transformation, nor fifteen years later; and consequently, members of both groups did not unequivocally internalize liberal economic and political values even in these days. Bearing in mind that these two strata decisively influenced the formation of dominant value horizons of the whole society, it is obvious that the stabilization of dominant liberal value patterns inside the wider social strata could be even less probable. This will certainly extend the process of building political pluralism and market economy in Serbia and make it more uncertain.

4. Elites and liberal values during the 1990s

In the first part of data analysis I will present the change in value orientations of members of political and economic elites in Serbia in the period 1989-2004. Acceptance of political liberalism vs. authoritarian collectivism in the political sphere, on one hand, and of market liberalism vs. redistributive statism in the economic sphere, on the other hand will be verified. Comparisons between 1989 and 2004 data will be descriptive, since both value orientations for the samples could be represented by two statements only. Following statements stand for the first pair (political liberalism vs. authoritarian collectivism): 1. Total freedom of speech today leads to disorganization of society; 2. The interests of the collective must always precede those of individuals.

Market liberalism as opposed to redistributive statism will be measured through the following statements: 1. The less the government intervenes in the economy, the better it is for Serbia (2004); and, The state today must have a greater role in managing the economy (1989); 2. Social progress will always be based on private property. Total refusal or acceptance of adequate statements will be presented as strongly liberal (or collectivist) attitude, while partial refusal or acceptance will be interpreted as moderate attitude (see table 1).

Research data show that linear interpretation of the change in the spread of value orientations among political and economic elites in Serbia during the 1990s' is not possible. First of all, orientations in 1989 were evidently contradictory: clear majority in both elite groups supported liberal orientation in case of the statement about "freedom of speech", while answers to the other statement, on interests (which is more general!), suggested that authoritarian collectivism dominated. The explanation of such significant difference might be found in the following facts. The increasing influence of liberalism inside the public sphere (in Serbia, and in the whole former Yugoslavia) was coming from two directions. On one hand, it was the result of incoming breakdown of socialism, which was announced a couple of years before by the "glasnost" policy of M. Gorbachov. It is no wonder, on the other hand, that this specific orientation could easily be accepted in Serbia (and in Yugoslavia), in which command role of the state inside the cultural subsystem was liberalized many years before. However, the basic principle of dominance of collective over the individuals, which is common to traditional society and socialist order, was getting extremely strong momentum in Serbia by ethnic mobilization exactly at the time of our research. Our data, therefore, reflected an increase of the anti-liberalism that was going to be dominant during the following decade. What worth mentioning is that in the case of statement about priority of collective interests, members of both elites demonstrated stronger authoritarian orientation than members of all other social strata (Lazic and Cvejic, 2007). This fact corroborates previously mentioned assertion that members of political elites in former Yugoslavia (including Serbia) already moved the basis of mass mobilization to the field of ethnic tensions.

Fifteen years later, according to data in Table 1, we may register a move of elites' members toward more liberal orientations. However, this move was more ambiguous than one could expect, taking into consideration that political pluralism in the country was effective for more than a decade. Namely orientation to collective interests was strongly present also in 2004, and among members of economic elite it was still stronger than individualistic orientation! In this case we have to find the answers to the puzzle. First of all, political elite significantly changed its composition after the regime change in the year 2000, since many members of democratically oriented political parties entered it for the first time (Lazic and Cvejic, 2006). On the other hand, even if the composition of the economic elite was also changing, this change was not that significant compared to the political elite (Lazic and Cvejic, 2006). Furthermore it should be mentioned that the 2003 survey of general population, showed that authoritarian orientations among lower strata were decreasing, whereas nationalism stayed at the same level as during mid 1990s'! The reason for this inconsistency probably rests in the fact that wider social pressures--and unsolved state problem was the most important among them--were keeping collectivist orientation alive, among the majority of Serbian population as much as among the elites' members (cf. Lazic and Cvejic, 2004).

The change in the spread of other pair of value orientations concerning economic relations--market liberalism vs. redistributive statism--will be displayed in table 2.

I the first case the two statements (1989 and 2004) could only be partially compared, since formulas we used were slightly different, even if they talked about the same problem. There is no doubt, however, that the basic conclusion, concerning the spread of opposing value orientations among members of political and economic elites is similar to the previous one. When it comes to the non-acceptance of the dominant role of two key capitalist institutions--market and private property--earlier confusion between statist and liberal value patterns has only partially been overcome.

More detailed analysis of our data shows that by the time of breakdown of socialism (more precisely, in 1989), political elite inclined more to the command-redistributive economic order than the economic elite (for reasons that are easily understandable; see about significant structural/interest differences between these two groups in Lazic, 1987). Political elite, then, accepted (with one third of its members at the opposite side) the necessity for its regulatory role to be reduced, but majority of its members was against systemic domination of private property. Economic elite was more internally consistent, since two third of its members supported liberal values in both cases (market and private property).

Fifteen years later, majority among members of political elite, in both cases (market and private property), accepted liberal values, and the same went with the economic elite. Obviously, number of those who opted for the old economic order was not negligible, but there was something more interesting here. Firstly, it is noticeable that members of both elites supported private property much strongly than market regulation. This is understandable and realistic since the strong economic role of the state is still necessary in Serbia (at least because the processes of privatization and economic restructuring have not been completed). However, it may seem strange to see economic elite to be more supportive for the continuation of state intervention in the economy than political elite, and that its support in 2004 is even slightly stronger than it was the case in 1989! Naturally, at the end of socialism removal of state regulation represented still an abstract principle, which would allow economic elite to secure autonomous control over economic resources. Fifteen years later, interventionist state often seems indispensable to many members of economic elite, who are confronted with conditions in which many firms can not successfully cope with free market rules (especially in Serbia, which survived extreme economic crisis), no matter if they are privatized or are still in state ownership. In this way, some of them wish for their firms to carry on helped by state regulation (custom protection, financial support etc.), others want to get market advantages in this way, while still others strive to get from the state instruments to put ownership of firms which are not yet privatized into their own (private) hands.

In a word, we could see that expected changes of value orientations did happen among members of political and economic elites in Serbia, in the economic and in political fields, during the last fifteen years (during the period of systemic change, from socialist toward liberal capitalist order, characterized by extremely deep socio-economic crisis). Liberal values are more widespread now among members of both, political and economic elites, but the change is ambiguous and sometimes less than expected. Significant minorities inside both elites have been keeping old values, the more so the difficulties in building conditions for the functioning of liberal state and free market have been more present. Main obstacles for this functioning in Serbia have been: unsolved state problem, and late privatization and economic restructuring. This is why we registered the survival of collectivist orientation, and of positive evaluation of state intervention in the economy in the value field, even if capitalist forms of private ownership and of free public sphere were not questioned by majority of both elites.

5. Actual value orientations among political and economic elites

In order to check previous conclusions, findings about spread of value orientations among members of economic and political elites in Serbia, obtained in our 2003/04 survey, will be carefully analyzed. More statements are at our disposal by which we are able to measure the spread of political and economic liberalism (as opposed to authoritarian collectivism and redistributive statism) among members of the elites. However, statistical analysis immediately indicates interpretation problems. Namely, it comes out that individual statements are very weakly interconnected when correlation matrix is calculated, so that low reliability discards possibility to construct scales of the two value orientations (alphas are very low: 0.51 and 0.49 for political and economic liberalism respectively). This means that acceptance of liberal orientations among members of the elites in Serbia is very inconsistent, so that we have to abandon more complex statistics and to use again individual statements in order to display our data. (1)

* The answer "don't know" is dropped ** Statements:

1. Political parties that wish to overthrow democracy should be banned

2. Without leaders, every nation is like a man without a head

3. Total freedom of speech today leads to total disorganization of society

4. There are two kinds of people in the world, the weak and the strong

5. The most important thing for children to learn is to obey their parents

6. The interest of the collectivity is more important than the interests of individuals

In this case too, the analysis will start with data on the spread of political liberalism (as against authoritarian collectivism) among members of political and economic elites in contemporary Serbia (see table 3).

Value confusion among members of both--political and economic--elites is demonstrated by the fact that in some cases authoritarian orientation is strongly supported, while in other cases the support is given to the liberal orientation. The highest level of authoritarian-collectivist orientation appears to be in the case of the statement that "parties that wish to abandon democracy should be banned". This might be connected with recent historical experience in Serbia, namely with the heritage of authoritarian regime of S. Milosevic, and continuing strong influence of political parties (SPS, Radical Party) which were pillars of the regime. Also, as we saw in the previous section, hard collectivist statement about the primacy of community over individuals got significant support. On the other hand, assertions that expressed standard general authoritarian patterns (statements 2, 4 and 5) received relatively weak support. This is consistent with our findings about drop of authoritarian value orientations among general population in Serbia, and especially among professionals and members of higher strata (cf. Lazic and Cvejic, 2007). Finally, as we also noticed before, members of the economic elite are evidently more supportive for authoritarian collectivism than members of political elite, especially in case of statements that measure general authoritarian orientation. This finding might represent an impulse for the research of leadership styles in Serbian enterprises that have been formed in the initial period of the institutionalization of market economy.

Before I continue with concluding remarks, let us see also how widespread has been recently the presence of two other conflicting value orientations--market liberalism and redistributive statism--among elites' members, using again larger number of statements (see table 4).

* The answer "don't know" is dropped

** Statements:

1. The less that government intervenes in the economy, the better it is for Serbia

2. The government should take measures to reduce differences in income levels

3. Government should not try to control, regulate, or interfere with private business in any way

4. The government should provide a job for everyone who wants one

5. The government should guarantee everyone a minimum standard of living

6. The state should intervene in the economy to reduce inequalities and protect the poor and weak

The reader may easily see that in the value field generated inside the sphere of economic relations in Serbia, it has been serious confusion among members of political and economic elites. Namely, liberal ideas are more readily accepted if expressed in statements that are closer to either general principles of market economy, or to the protection of private property (statements 1, 3, and 2). At the same time old redistributive values are preferred when it comes to the current welfare problems of the population. It should be noticed again that significant disagreement between members of the two elites, regarding these conflicting orientations, does not exist: pro-liberal and pro-redistributive preferences follow the same directions. This might lead someone to the conclusion that shared orientations rest on common ground; but we will soon discover that this is not necessarily the case.

Having in mind concrete historical circumstances in which present social transformation in Serbia is taking place, value confusion in the economic field does not seem too strange. First of all, statements 1 and 3 represent common sense assumptions in contemporary neo-liberal phase of world capitalist order: idea about sacrosanct market, in which private firms do businesses without any state interference, is taken as truism, especially in former communist societies. We saw that this was also the opinion of majority in Serbia, already in 1989. Further on, view that differences among people should be rewarded by material means (since this would improve general social interest) also represents liberal cliche. Therefore, resistance toward state interventionism--which would lead to reduction of income differences based on market success--is consistent with the previous two assertions. This concurrence represents the basis of value unity among members of political and economic elites in Serbia these days.

However, when the last statement has been formulated so that it includes "protection of poor and elderly people", when it comprises associations with catastrophic life conditions to which majority of population in Serbia has been exposed (as the result of wars, sanctions and "capitalist transition"), value orientations have been changed and moved toward redistributive part of the scale, for the majority of respondents (the same goes with the statement about guaranteed jobs, in the country with massive unemployment). Here we may suppose, though, that similar value orientations of the two elites rest on different basis! Namely, for members of political elite, "responsibility of the state" for unemployed, poor etc. is a principle founded on its legitimization: political parties enter electoral contest with promises that they will secure favorable life conditions to the population. When it comes to the members of economic elite, their conclusion is probably quite the opposite one: they want to hand over their responsibilities to the state! In other words, the managerial task is to hire (and fire) individuals, and to pay the employees according to the success of firm at the market, demand and supply of the labor force etc., while tackling the social consequences of individual market behavior is a matter of state policy.

Naturally, interpretation of such strong redistributive value orientation of the economic elites' members in Serbia has to include at least another two factors. On one hand, we have to keep in mind that a number of managers--in big, un-restructured state firms, which are in most cases unsuccessful at the market--whose orientation toward the state is structurally based, still represent a part of the elite. Also, it is not too difficult to find sediments of old ideological orientations among both, managers in the state and in the private firms, especially if we approach to them using cliches of social welfare and elements of traditionalist-collectivist ideas (as we already saw). In a word, only if these additional elements are included into interpretation of our data, it is possible to fully explain seemingly paradoxical finding, that sometimes it is possible to register higher level of redistributive statism among members of the economic elite than among their political counterparts (statement 4).

6. Concluding remarks

In a short paper, when the reader is capable of controlling the whole argument, conclusions are usually unnecessary. Therefore I will limit myself to just few remarks. The basic analytical finding in the paper is the following one: political and economic elites in Serbia have not internalized liberal values as the unquestionable basic frame of reference, even fifteen years after pluralist democracy, and market economy, founded on private property, have been introduced as the key institutional and legitimate principles of systemic regulation. Both groups share extremely inconsistent value orientations, which represent a mixture of liberal and collectivist patterns. During the past fifteen years only a mild shift toward liberal values occurred, and even this move was ambiguous. Also, value confusion encompasses the functioning of both economic and political subsystems and is common characteristic of economic and political elites, in both subsystems.

These findings lead to melancholic prognosis, concerning the continuation of social transformation in Serbia. Our research data show that even deeper value confusion is characteristic of almost all social strata in the country, with professionals being the only exception (cf. Lazic and Cvejic, 2007). Of course, as N. Elias demonstrated in his famous book, "the civilizing processes"--meaning here the formation of new value patterns--spread from higher social circles toward lower ones (Elias, 1978). Or, according to a more recent statement, adoption of new value system by the majority of population, and first of all by members of social elites, represents the necessary condition of building stable institutions, which make possible for the new system of social relations to reproduce itself (Inglehart, 1997). Authoritarian-collectivist and statist-redistributive values, that permeate large parts of the elites and population, have consequently slowed institutional transformation, while sluggish change of social relations support continual presence of old value patterns. Thus processes of negative dialectic worked in Serbia at two levels: in the field of class relations and in the field of interactions between social relations and social consciousness. This is why there is a reason to expect here for social changes to continue to follow a pattern according to which periods of starting and abandoning reforms periodically substitute each other, and even to see that reforms striving toward the past are occasionally implemented.


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(1) See Lazic and Cvejic, 2004, on the conceptual equivalence of nomenklatura, ruling class and elites in socialism.

(1) According to the formulation of D. Pantic, who found following characteristics of this type of consciousness: orientation toward modernism, openness to the world, materialism, and acceptance of economic inequalities--cf. Pantic, 1977: 294.

(1) See Antonic, 2002, on detailed account on parliamentary and presidential elections in Serbia during the 1990s.

(1) The second survey was a part of a larger The Southeast European Social Survey Project, done at the territory of former Yugoslavia (minus Slovenia, plus Albania), and financed by the Norwegian Government.

(1) The same statements are very well interconnected when it comes to the value orientations of general population: alphas are 0.74 and 0.75, for political and economic liberalism respectively--cf. Lazic and Cvejic, 2007.

(2) Naturally, the fulfillment of the second interest was based on successful conversion of monopolistic command positions into private capital. In Serbia (like in Russia), former nomenklatura members were very successful in this conversion; however, in other postsocialist countries they also were rather successful, as was discovered in previously mentioned Szelenyi's survey.

(2) See Mrksic, 1995, on the proportions of general impoverishment and on vastly increasing economic differentiation.

Mladen Lazic is a professor at the Department of Sociology at the Faculty of Philosophy in Belgrade. He published and edited books on social stratification, elites, social change and post-socialist transformation.
Table 1. Political liberalism/authoritarian collectivism of political
and economic elites, in 1989 and 2004, in %

  Statement      Total freedom of speech today leads to
                 disorganization of society

                 1989                     2004

                 Political    Econ.       Political    Econ.

   Strong         6,8         10,8         2,4          2,4
  Moderate       17,8         19,5         5,3         12,2
 Un-decisive      5,0          3,5         6,8          6,8
Moderate          8,2         10,0        53,9         55,9
Strong liberal   62,1         56,3        29,6         22,0
Doesn't know     -            -            1,9          1,5

  Statement      The interests of the collective must
                 always precede those of individuals

                 1989                     2004

                 Political    Econ.       Political    Econ.

   Strong        54,8         59,7        10,7         18,5
  Moderate       16,9         16,5        25,2         37,1
 Un-decisive      5,2          5,0        12,6         18,0
Moderate          6,4          6,5        33,5         21,5
Strong liberal   16,9         12,1        15,0          4,4
Doesn't know     -            -            2,9          0,5

Table 2. Market liberalism/redistributive statism of political
and economic elites, in 1989 and 2004, in %

Statement    The state today         The less that
             must have a             government
             greater role in         intervenes in the
             managing the            economy, the better
             economy (1989)          it is for Serbia

             Politic.    Econom      Politic.    Econom

Strong       16,9        15,6         7,3         9,8
Moderate     17,8        15,6        20,4        25,9
Undecided     4,6         3,0        15,0        12,7
Moderate      9,6        12,6        35,4        35,6
Strong       51,1        53,2        18,4        15,6
Doesn't      -           -            3,4         0,5

Statement    Social progress will always be based on
             private property

             1989                    2004

             Politic.    Econom      Politic.    Econom

Strong       36,5        18,2         4,4         2,9
Moderate     13,7        12,6        11,2         9,8
Undecided     7,8         6,9        15,5        11,2
Moderate     27,9        28,6        39,8        54,6
Strong       14,2        33,8        25,7        20,0
Doesn't      -           -            3,4         1,5

Table 3. Political liberalism/authoritarian collectivism of
political and economic elites, in 2004, in % *

Statement    Strong                  Moderate
**           authoritarian           Authoritarian

             Polit.      Econ.       Polit.      Econ.

1            31,1        28,3        20,4        26,3
2             4,4         9,3        11,2        26,8
3             2,4         2,4         5,3        12,2
4             2,4         4,4        10,7        26,8
5             1,5         3,4         8,7        13,7
6            10,7        18,5        25,2        37,1

Statement    Undecided               Moderate
**                                   liberal

             Polit.      Econ.       Polit.      Econ.

1             9,2         6,8        25,7        25,4
2            15,0        14,6        39,3        30,2
3             6,8         6,8        53,9        55,1
4            10,7        13,7        48,1        34,6
5             9,7        14,1        45,6        42,9
6            12,6        18,0        33,5        21,5

Statement    Strong
**           liberal

             Polit.      Econ

1            11,2        10, 7
2            29,1        16, 6
3            29,6        22, 0
4            26,2        19, 0
5            31,6        23, 9
6            15,0         4, 4

* The answer "don't know" is dropped

** Statements:

1. Political parties that wish to overthrow democracy should be banned

2. Without leaders, every nation is like a man without a head

3. Total freedom of speech today leads to total disorganization of

4. There are two kinds of people in the world, the weak and the strong

Table 4. Market liberalism/redistributive statism of political
and economic elites, in 2004, in % *

Statement   Strong statist          Moderate
**                                  statist

            Polit.      Econ.       Polit.      Econ.

1            7,3         9,8        20,4        25,9
2            7,8         7,3        35,4        22,0
3            6,3         4,4        23,8        29,8
4           19,4        22,0        34,5        40,0
5           29,1        26,8        55,3        54,1
6           18,9        17,6        49,5        43,4

Statement   Undecided               Moderate
**                                  liberal

            Polit.      Econ.       Polit.      Econ.

1           15,0        12,7        35,4        35,6
2            9,7        12,2        35,0        42,0
3           13,1        11,7        35,4        33,2
4           14,6         9,8        23,8        21,5
5            6,8         6,3         7,8         9,3
6           10,7        12,7        16,5        22,0

Statement   Strong      liberal
            Polit.      Econ.

1           18,4        15,6
2           10,7        14,1
3           18,9        19,5
4            5,8         5,4
5            1,0         2,9
6            3,4         4,4
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Author:Lazic, Mladen
Publication:Romanian Journal of Political Science
Article Type:Essay
Geographic Code:4EXYU
Date:Jan 1, 2007
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